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From Karl Lagerfeld to George H. W. Bush: When Is It "Too Soon" to Criticize the Dead?


From Karl Lagerfeld to George H. W. Bush: When Is It "Too Soon" to Criticize the Dead?

Christian Christensen

The passing of legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has once again raised the question: “When is it too soon to publicly discuss the less-than-positive legacy of a dead person?”

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"Don’t do the Crime, if you can’t take the Slime."



I eagerly await the day when I can get pilloried for speaking the truth about Nobel Peace laureate Dr. Henry Kissinger. Bring it on.



This is a very strange choice for a way to bring up crimes of important people. There are a lot of assholes in the world. I don’t really give a damn about a dead asshole fashion designer.



Thank heaven the question is being posed. The death of person is the culmination of the life lived. It is truly bizarre that like the economic system, all negatives are to be denied - to provide the glue to the ‘family’ survivors to the system of denial. In the case of “leaders” (and war criminals) the “externalized” lies, deceits, manipulations, debts and related extractions for power are untaxed (otherwise how dreadfully emotionally “taxing” for the "bereaved) in order to still hold their power for the next ‘generation’ of ‘generating’ the extracted value.

Am I being cold and heartless? No. Iḿ barely scratching the surface of a kabuki-veiled wielding of a public bludgeon, spit and polished by its practitioners to the detriment of the truth, coherence of governance and health of the living planet.

And for the “christians” who demand that everyone bow to their practices, like the scornful insipidity of the vice president, what exactly does it mean to deny what would be, by any measure, referred to as “sins” against the 10 commandments of god they worship? In honest traditions these failings are laid out truthfully for the benefit of all.

It is necessary to call out hypocrisy and practices of schizophrenia-based power grabbing.



The “it too soon” crowd can go to hell. This same group were falling all over themselves to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden. Where was the “it too soon” then? Or how about Hilary Clinton cackling on the death of Qaddafi?

Just more of that bullcrap hypocrisy that goes on. When a guy like Kissinger or Abrams finally goes bells should ring in celebration.



Not to mention Bush 41 pardoning the Iran contra crooks, and appointing Clarence Thomas to shift the SCOTUS rapidly rightward, and Lagerfield leaving more money in his will to take care of his cat than would be sufficient to provide health care for tens of thousands of people.



The criticism should start quite a long time before they die and follow through, particularly in the case of those that escape hanging, disembowelment, or other things where the response itself might give us pause.

How long did we wait after the deaths of people with similar careers but a different social class, people like Ted Bundy or Aileen Wuomos?

It’s not like there’s a day that such discussion is apt to become palatable to family. That really is too bad. But it is secondary.



When it comes to public figures, the immediate aftermath of their deaths is precisely the time to have an honest and frank discussion of their legacies, because that is precisely when the hagiographies-posing-as-history get written.



Excellent argument, of course.
But Karl Lagerfeld - really wasn’t anyone that important to human history or culture, for the coverage that it has received. He represented a vain (albeit highly profitable) industry of clothes making vastly based on exploitation of the young…and his influence was only limited to a very tiny percentage of the West’s population. What this clothes maker thought or said wasn’t really of any public value, in my opinion. Not saying it is not right to call him on his ignorance and bigotry, weather alive or dead, just saying that he and Bush, are not comparable. McCain and Bush perhaps, would have made a better case.